This is the dazzling figure head on the good ship Gasparilla.

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been, more or less, Tampa’s “Mardi Gras” since 1904. And this vessel, manned by blood-thirsty pirates, leads a flotilla of boats into the harbor from the Bay during the always-successful invasion of the city.

The mayor of Tampa then hands over the key of the city to the pirate captain and a “victory parade” ensues down Bayshore Boulevard along Tampa Bay. And then the city parties well into the night. Sometimes longer.

Traditionally this happens in early February each year.

It’s worth doing.